"When new life stirs within the womb, and a mother has the sensation of her baby moving within her for the first time, it's called 'quickening.' The same word is associated with pilgrims, who go to sacred places to 'quicken' the divinity within themselves, to experience spiritual awakening or receive a blessing or become healed. The seeker embarks on a journey with a receptive soul and hopes to find divinity there. And, as I began to appreciate from my tuning-fork response to Chartres, pilgrimage to a sacred place is an in-the-body spiritual experience — as were my pregnancies.

"It is believed that the divine spirit is incarnate at sacred places, both in the sense that the Deity is present there and in that these are places where the divinity penetrates matter, impregnating or quickening the divine in the pilgrim. In Europe, places of Christian pilgrimage are nearly always sites that had been sacred to the Great Goddess before the advent of Christianity."
Crossing to Avalon: A Woman's Midlife Pilgrimage

The Labyrinth as a Map of Pilgrimage

"I began to think that the labyrinth in the nave at Chartres can serve as a symbolic map or metaphor for the pilgrimage. Once we enter it, ordinary time and distance are immaterial, we are in the midst of a ritual and a journey where transformation is possible; we do not know how far away or close we are to the center where meaning can be found until we are there; the way back is not obvious and we have no way of knowing as we emerge how or when we will take the experience back into the world until we do. There are no blind ends in a labyrinth, the path often doubles back on itself, the direction toward which we are facing is continually changing, and if we do not turn back or give up we will reach the center to find the rose, the Goddess, the Grail, a symbol representing the sacred feminine. To return to ordinary life, we must again travel the labyrinth to get out, which is also a complex journey for it involves integrating the experience into consciousness, which is what changes us."
Crossing to Avalon: A Woman's Midlife Pilgrimage

A Life-Threatening Illness

"Sometimes I wonder if a life-threatening illness or condition is a last-ditch opportunity to pay attention to soul needs for authentic expression, for creativity, for intimacy, for solitude, for retreat inward, for something significant to happen. Perhaps when all else has failed to call attention to pain at the soul level, disease not only may result but may become the means through which we go inward to find buried feelings and cut-off or dismembered aspects of ourselves."
Close to the Bone: Life-Threatening Illness and the Search for Meaning

The Power of Imagination

"I think of affirmations and visualizations as tapping into the power of the imagination, which is a generator and transformer, a force that precedes and shapes who we become, and what we create and achieve. Whenever we attempt something new or difficult, we have to be able to imagine it before it becomes possible. It's the combination of inspiration and perspiration that brings about tangible results."
Close to the Bone: Life-Threatening Illness and the Search for Meaning

Women's Circles

"In more ways than one, women talk in circles: conversation takes a spiral shape in its subjective exploration of every subject. Listening, witnessing, role modeling, reacting, deepening, mirroring, laughing, crying, grieving, drawing upon experience, and sharing the wisdom of experience, women in circles support each other and discover themselves, through talk. Circles of women supporting each other, healing circles, wisdom circles, soul sister circles, circles of wisewomen, of clan mothers, of grandmothers. Circles of crones, circles of pre-crones, lifetime circles and ad hoc circles, even circles of women in cyberspace and the business place, circles are forming everywhere."
The Millionth Circle: How to Change Ourselves and the World

Crones Are Fierce about What Matters to Them

"Gloria Steinem has often noted that women tend to be more conservative when young, and become rebellious and radical as they grow older, while it's the opposite for men. Women become fiercely compassionate crones when they are outraged at the suffering caused as much by indifference by those in authority as by the perpetrators. Compassion and anger come together for terrorized, abused, helpless, and neglected people, whose plight is considered of little importance because they have no power or value in a world where greed and power over others rather than concern for others is the ruling principle. Crones are not naïve or in denial about reality. When something in particular is an outrage, and doing something about it is a choice, a moment of truth occurs in which activists are born. The suffering of others or the feeling of Enough is enough! radicalizes older women."
Crones Don't Whine: Concentrated Wisdom for Juicy Women

Work On Your Assignment

"I think that women who were part of the women's movement and now are of crone age, with a mind and a heart not fully employed, may be realizing that they are waiting for an assignment. Idealistic, altruistic, passionate young women are also feeling and responding to the call to activism. For women of any age, an assignment presents itself as an invitation. Your assignment is what you feel it is. It may be an opportunity that you realize is meant for you. It may come to you as an inspiration or urge. The women's movement that changed the world for American women and rippled out to influence the world was the sum of individual women doing whatever they were moved to do, once they became aware of inequality and injustice. The vessel that supported them through their changes and those they brought into the world was their women's group.

"I believe that the thought that women together can change the world is emerging into the minds and hearts of many of us, and that the vessel for personal and planetary evolution is the circle with a spiritual center."
Urgent Message from Mother: Gather the Women, Save the World